Inventing And Sharing: The Legacy That Abdel Wants To Leave The Next Generation With
A very skilled prodigy of his generation, Abdel made his mark in history by inventing a unique sprinkler system that not only irrigates the crops, but also protects them from frost during the winter season. His invention greatly benefited the local farmers, but Abdel did not stop there. He realized that while he gave his community a gift through his invention, it would be nothing when compared to sharing what he knew to the next generation so that they, in turn, can improve and have their own inventions that would benefit society.
The Importance Of Education
This is why Abdel takes the education of the Jordanian youth seriously. In fact, even before he rose to prominence with his invention, Abdel has already taken small steps in imparting his knowledge and skills to the next generation. When he became successful, he used the blessings to bless the youth by setting up free training courses and workshops in his hometown of Talifa.
As Abdel states in a blog he wrote:
“In all the projects I was a part of, I always tend to show the motive first, what is going to happen if we got educated more, and what does that have an impact on our lives? These questions touch the part we all are trying to develop, because as I can see it, most of the youth in my country want to be educated and are more open to gain more knowledge, and most of the things I do come in this point, a sustainable development in which each single friend of mine or a workshop attendee takes it from his side to spread it to the people he knows.”
Joining Local Community Campaigns
Abdel Alzorgan was born in Talifa, Jordan in 1990. He is the oldest of two brothers, the younger one being Mohammad. His father was a farmer, who taught Abdel and his brother the profession even at a young age. Abdel’s father was not only a kind man, but was also a respected member of the community, often going out of his way to help others. This attitude would rub off on the young Abdel, who would come to develop a desire of serving his fellow countrymen and improving his country as he grew up.
Even at a very young age, Abdel already showed traits of leadership and charity. One of the things that Abdel became famous for while growing up was his fondness for joining local community campaigns, doing what he can to help. His father’s actions became an inspiration for him to be able do something good for his community.
But while Abdel had this burning passion on the inside to become a significant and productive member of his community, it quite puzzled him growing up how his fellow youths did not have the same energy and desire like he did. Abdel found the answer by observation as he was growing up; he found that the reason why a lot of his fellow youths were not as much interested in helping their community as he was was the lack of motivating factors in their lives. Abdel wrote in his blog years later:
“Life is a word that means 'to have existed' -- it means beings living together, sharing the place they live in. If you asked me, 'Did you try to breathe?' I would say yes, but taking a breath doesn't mean you are alive until you make a difference. But lack of motivation is what most young people suffer from. Positive examples to follow are out there, but the problem is how to follow them and why.”
Abdel Develops Irrigation System
Passionate as he was, Abdel would not find his life’s work until he was in his sixth grade. Abdel studied in government schools, and was hailed by his teachers as one of the best students due to his amazing intellect and leadership talent. For his classmates, Abdel was someone who had intense passion for helping others. He also loved to study mathematics and sciences, two subjects that would serve him very well later on in his life.
The work of Abdel’s father became the start of Abdel’s philanthropic career. Abdel and his brother Mohammad had been working with their father at the farm since they were young, and grew to have a good understanding about the problems that farmers had to face regarding their crops. Among these issues, the greatest was frost and the lack of irrigation, which caused the crops to dry up quickly, mold or rot. As Abdel learned more about the sciences, he also started to research about the best ways to keep the crops safe.
Abdel recalled this in a blog he wrote years later:
“Since I was a kid, I used to work with my dad at the farm. I learned to be patient and think about the future, but at the same time I was thinking about the water we needed to irrigate the crops we planted today. I used to think about that all the time from my kid's perspective and I pondered how the water circle works. Can we save water? Is there more efficient ways to use it wisely? How do we save the small amount of money we had at that time? We couldn't buy water, and during that particular year, the production wasn't enough to provide for the household needs, not to mention selling some of it to get some money for the next year's crops.”
Through a series of researches, Abdel, with the help of his brother Mohammad, developed a system of saving water to protect the crops from being destroyed by lack of water or frost. There was only one problem: they did not have the money to fund their research. At that point, there was still much information needed and they could not test the system because they could not afford to buy the equipment needed to build it.
Winning 4th in the INTEL International Science and Engineering Fair
In spite of these challenges, Abdel and Mohammad did not give up. Through hard work and determination, they were able to enter and win a local science fair, which gave them a name in the local science community. Eventually, through the encouragement and support of some of the people they knew, Abdel and Mohammad were given a chance to enter the INTEL International Science and Engineering Fair in both 2006 and 2008, where in the latter year they won fourth place for their invention.
It was Abdel’s first time in the United States, and it really made a mark on his life. Prior to joining the INTEL event, Abdel and his brother spent a lot of their time learning the English language and going through their presentation. Abdel recalled in an interview:
“I remember it was a very long journey -- we had to look for funding, learn English language from TV, and slept less than we needed but finally got what we dreamed of.”
While in the United States, Abdel saw the vast difference between this Western superpower and his own nation. Here, young people had free access to information and technical training, something that was not afforded to Abdel’s fellow Jordanian youth. Realizing how he was so fortunate that he was able to not only receive information that most of his fellow Jordanian youth could not, but also visit places where he could gain more knowledge, Abdel had a light turned on the inside of him. He thought, “What if I could bring what I have learned here to my own country and share them with my fellow countrymen?” Abdel and his brother returned to Jordan carrying not only knowledge, but also the determination and desire to be able to share this knowledge with his countrymen.
Abdel shared this experience in a blog he wrote years later:
“When we both came back to Jordan, we took different ways to achieve the same vision. I wanted to awaken the passion of the youth in my community. The power I felt after I served my community was indescribable. The self-confidence led me to be more creative and more effective. I am just like anyone else out there -- I want to change the world to a better one. But I started with myself first. I began to have the mentality to 'think globally, start locally, act now.'”
Abdel Speaks at TEDx Dead Sea
It was the beginning of Abdel’s philanthropic work. Soon after his return, he started to receive invitations to speak at various school and organizational events to talk about his invention and his experiences. It was up from here. In 2010, Abdel graduated from Talifa Secondary School with high remarks, and was named to be among the top students of the school. After this, Abdel applied at the Talifa Technical University where is currently studying Mechatronics Engineering. He is looking forward to earning his bachelor’s degree in 2015.
In 2011, Abdel was invited to speak at an event by TEDx called “TEDx Dead Sea”, where he shared his experiences leading to his and Mohammad’s invention as well as the trip to the United States. Abdel also discussed the importance of empowering the youth of Jordan as something that the government should be giving focus to. Abdel recalled his experience at the TEDx event in an interview:
“I remember when I spoke at TEDx Dead Sea, it was a privilege for me. I'm now known locally in the field of youth service even more after the king recognized the effort and the time we spent on our project. This was my foundation to start leading the change I dreamed of.”
That same year, Abdel was named as an ambassador for One Young World, an organization that focused on the empowerment and education of youths around the world by bringing together the greatest youth minds in the world and establishing good connections for them so they can fully maximize their potential for becoming productive members of their respective societies. Prior to being named as an ambassador, Abdel was invited to Zurich, Switzerland, where he carried on a series of projects that focused on the local communities in the southern parts of Jordan.
One of the 25 Most Powerful and Influential Young People in the World
The following year, Abdel’s connection grew further, so much so that he was named as among the 25 Most Powerful and Influential Young People in the World by Youth Service America. This honor further thrust Abdel into the attention of the international community, something that has become beneficial to his cause.
Throughout his career as a youth philanthropist, Abdel has often faced seemingly insurmountable challenges that would have caused a lot of us to falter and quit our respective desires and goals in life. However, the thing that makes Abdel different from the most, and by definition, amazing, is the fact that he does not let these obstacles hinder him from achieving his goal. He does get knocked down, but he never lets himself be knocked out. Abdel knows that as long as he has the ability to think, he will always find a way to get through any challenge. He often says:
“'I have a brain and you are not taking that away from me,' are words I have spoken to myself. Sometimes life knocks us down, but falling down is not a shame as long as you are going to stand again and keep moving.”
Today, Abdel works diligently not only to study hard and gain more information, but to spread the desire of becoming better people to his fellow students in Talifa Technical University. Abdel juggles his time in being a student and a philanthropist, but is satisfied in doing so, knowing that he can use his time in the university to encourage and empower his fellow Jordanian youth. He says:
“Now that I'm at university, I found myself covered from head to toe with exams and homework, but in a perfect place to share and care about the power of youth and what they are capable of. From the first weeks of my life at university, I started to work and serve as a volunteer to develop myself, and to gain more knowledge by sharing the small amount of it that I have.”
- Integrated Sprinkler System for Irrigation and Frost Protection
Organizations and Programmes Supported
- One Young World
- Youth Service America
- Leaders of Tomorrow
Awards and Achievements
- 2008: Won Fourth Place at the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair
- 2012: Received the Ministry of Education Award for International Prizes Winners
- 2012: Included in the 25 Most Powerful and Influential Young People in the World by Youth Service America